If you’ve ever visited a website that was frustrating to navigate or unpleasant to look at, you’ve seen what can happen when user experience (UX) is not taken into account during the design phase. Sometimes, for example, a designer might place too much value on a gimmicky design feature, or a bit of high-tech magic, at the expense of useability. While bells and whistles can be fun, focusing your web design on UX first will keep your customers coming back to your website.

One important aspect of UX is considering any standards that are currently in place. Website navigation, form design, and other parts of websites are often set up the same way on the majority of sites, so users come to expect that format when they visit new sites. If you decide to deviate from these norms when designing your website, you can end up with frustrated customers who will leave your website and find another solution to their problems elsewhere.

Of course, you don’t want a cookie-cutter website that is generic and boring. You do want to include design details that show off the personality of your company and appeal to your target market. Sometimes deviating from design standards is just the thing you need to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Keep UX in mind when you make design choices that are non-standard so that your customers can still easily find what they need on your website.

It’s important, also, to not just assume your design is optimized for UX. Once you’ve created a design layout to address each feature that your website needs, you’ll implement your design. The next crucial step is testing. Put your website in front of as many people as you can to see what difficulties they have while navigating it. When your testers complain of having to click too many times to reach your product pages, listen to them and redesign your site. If they tell you the color combination you’ve chosen gives them a headache, pay attention. User experience has many theoretical best practices that you should follow, but it’s all still just theory until your users tell you about their actual experience.

Considering UX when creating a website design will result in a website that users find easy and enjoyable to use. This should translate into people spending more time on your site, and consequently spending more money on the products you have to offer.